Race 14 - Day 5
Crew Diary - Race 14 Day 5
04 July

Ben Gillingham
Ben Gillingham
Team Zhuhai
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Hello Everyone, from team Zhuhai Romantic Racing!

We're back in race mode after a fantastic stopover in New York, and after narrowly missing out on a podium in the last race, we're all keen to do one better this time round.

Getting back into full race mode took us a couple of days - after such a nice break, there was a bit of a hangover as we readjusted to the routine of boat life. The first day of racing had very light winds too, which didn't help the mood on board.

Happily, since then, we've had perfect sailing conditions, with nice winds and flat seas allowing us to make excellent speed, and we're very pleased to be in the lead pack of boats at this early stage of the race. It's also great to be almost a third of the way to Derry, and we're enjoying the last few days of warmth before the temperature drops. As I write, we're enjoying North Pacific style downwind surfing, with Bermuda temperatures, which is a great combination!

Patrick and James have given the crew much more autonomy in decision making for this race, although they are still on hand with advice and support. We're enjoying having a go at route planning and sail plan changes, and we're learning a lot about the factors that need to be taken into account. In addition to wind and current, we also need to think about crew welfare - for some reason sail changes often seem to be needed either at meal times or just when the Mothers are trying to prepare a meal, so we're working on planning ahead as far as possible.

We had our first (and hopefully only) broach of this race on Saturday night as the wind built while we flew the Code 3. Fortunately no harm done, and both watches worked together to carry out a really smooth drop in potentially tricky conditions. It's great to feel the team coming together and managing tough situations so well, and it gives us the confidence to push that bit harder to see if we can take that elusive podium spot.

Spirits are high, and we're looking forward to seeing lots of you when we get to Northern Ireland. Wish us fair winds, and we'll see you there.

Onwards and upwards…